Let's start with the inadequacy of child care, which is a market failure. The Royal Commission on the Status of Women report that came out in 1970 is going to mark its 50th anniversary in December. We've been talking about the need for child care as part of the early education system for 50 years, and for 50 years we have treated it as a market issue. It is a family choice. It is an individual choice. Let the market decide how it is delivered. We have seen systemic market failure. Now we are going to see a colossal wave of market failure as these centres close because people don't have the money to go there right now, and then when they do have the money to go there, they are not open anymore.
So yes, I think we need a national child care strategy. Yes, I believe it should be federally funded, especially in the post-pandemic period. We need to have national protocols for safe reopening. It's going to mean very different adult-to-child ratios, more physical distancing, absolutely guaranteed supply chains for PPE.
This is not an individual province's problem, just like the pandemic wasn't an individual province's problem. I believe very strongly that we need a national strategy that's federally funded to get us safely through to the recovery.
With respect to maternity and parental leave, we know the most expensive form of child care is infant care. We also know around the world, probably in 99% of cases, the best caregiver for infants is the parent. We could be saving money and providing better care by extending that care, and looking at what other jurisdictions do to help parents to be able to afford to stay at home, but I can guarantee if we're doing it at 50% income replacement....
Again, Quebec is the outlier. We need to learn from the best in this country, and we need to be mirroring this across the country. We have to do better than an EI-based 55% income replacement because low-income parents cannot afford 55% of their already low income.
Yes, longer periods, but the take-up will continue to be ridiculously low for people who can't afford to lose so much income to be able to stay at home with their kids.
This again is a market failure, and this is an issue of the public good. We need to have all hands on deck in 20 years. If we don't invest in these kids now, if we discount now, we will not have them to rely on in 15 to 20 years. I don't understand what's difficult to understand about this.